A group of researchers from the University of Extremadura have shown that the rock glacier in the Corral del Veleta in the Sierra Nevada could disappear in the coming 20 years. The calculations are based on normal temperatures but if these increase then the degradation process will be accelerated.
So, what is a “rock glacier”?
The Corral de Veleta is what is called a rock glacier, ie an accumulation of snow and ice of low volume that does not have the ability to move and is covered by material erosion. Thus the ice is not visible. They are also known as black glaciers.
Today, the ice thickness of this geomorphological structure is only ten meters thick. The normal trend is that this mass of ice beneath the rocks loses between 50cm and 70cm each year.
This degradation is part of the natural process of any glacier, although with warmer temperatures this process could be accelerated.